Glorifying Him With All We Are and All We Have
The room was completely dark — shades drawn, no sound, no movement — and it had been like that for weeks. I was laying in my bed, crying in pain, unable to sit up or even feed myself. One ambulance ride and two hospitalizations later, I was exhausted and frayed.
It was in the middle of these weeks of immobilizing pain, requiring complete darkness and no stimulation, that I was reminded of the verse in Colossians 3:23: “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord…” (NASB).
Whatever you do. “Grace, what are you doing right now?” I asked myself.
“Well,” said I, “I’m laying here physically incapable of doing anything — even sitting up.”
My whisper came through the darkness of the basement apartment: “Do it — do that — heartily as unto the Lord.”
And in that moment, I was reminded of my dear friend, Betty.
You see, when I was in Uganda several years ago, I met a young lady named Betty. She was 19 years old at the time. We were sitting on the side of the road one day, resting in the red dust that stained our feet. I bit into a freshly fried chapati from the nearby roadside stand and politely asked about her family.
“I have no family. They took them. When I was eight, they killed my father and brothers. My sisters and mother were taken, abused, tortured, and left to die. I watched it all. I was abused and tortured with them, but I survived.”
I forgot all about my food and didn’t know how to even begin forming a response.
She continued. “I am alone here,” she pointed to the ground. “But I have Jesus here,” her hand moved to her heart. “I would have given up long ago if not for Him. He teaches me and loves me and I am cared for. Always.”
Still I didn’t know what to say. Betty didn’t seem to notice my silence as she continued.
“I walk two hours to work at the orphanage every day, and walk two hours home again at night. And while I walk, I pray to God that He would help me live for Him — ‘heartily as unto the Lord’ as that verse says. I read that years ago, and I want to live that … because I love Him.”
I’ve never forgotten that interlude on a far-off road across the ocean. I learned so much from Betty, and her intense love for Jesus reached out to me again as I lay in the dark, reminding myself to live for Him — heartily as unto the Lord.
A Glorious Calling
As Christians — those who have given our lives in exchange for His — we have a call upon our lives. A call to glorify Him with all that we are. A call to love and pour out. A call to tell the Good News to others. A call to do all that we do as unto the Lord. It’s a beautiful and divine calling, and we are equipped to fulfill it in Him — even while battling disease, financial instability, or any other unwanted circumstances.
And yet, as I am overcome with pain, unable to go outside day after day, forced to hobble around with a cane, or unable to do the most basic tasks (like look at a phone or computer screen), it’s easy for my heart to wonder how I can possibly fulfill this calling.
But through the years, I’ve realized that there is no situation or circumstance which disables us from walking out this calling. Even as an invalid I am still called, and thereby I am equipped by His grace.
Even with my frequent inability to function as a “normal” adult — and you, with whatever difficulty you face — we can both honor the Lord with our lives. We can perform the tasks of each day as unto the Lord, as small or simple as they may be. We can take the stretch of life in which we find ourselves — whether days or years — and squeeze the sponge of that season for all that there is to know and be known of the Lord. To grow in Him. And to do even the most mundane or unpleasant things heartily as unto the Lord. It’s a walk of obedience and surrender every moment of every day.
It’s easy to think the super-practical verses that instruct us to do everything as unto the Lord are meant for people with normal lives — people who can accomplish that calling in their job, their family, their parenting, their school. But what if you find yourself with a different serving on your plate? What if you find yourself incapable of practically living those things out, and you’re walking a different reality than you once expected?
New years and fresh starts are often synonymous, but maybe you find yourself looking over the edge of 2022 at the “same old, same old” that you wish had been wrapped up at the end of 2021. I’m here to encourage you that even in the what-ifs of life, God has given us all we need to rejoice in all circumstances. He has equipped us to rise up in the midst of any circumstance — no matter how difficult — and serve Him heartily. A glorious calling indeed!
I’ve included some of my own go-to reminders for keeping my eyes fixed on Jesus, and not on my circumstances. May they inspire you to do all for His glory!
| Meditate on Truth |
Don’t allow yourself to pitch your tent and settle into a life of self-pity, mediocrity, and dullness because you find yourself living a life that is startlingly different from those around you. Rouse your soul out of the doldrums and fill your life with truth. Meditate on who He is while you fold clothes. Listen to an audio Bible while sitting by your loved-one’s hospital bed. Pour out your heart in prayer for those in need around the world and for the souls that don’t yet know the Lord.
Note: Sometimes I find in the fog of pain, praying can feel useless because I can hardly form coherent sentences — but be reminded, dear one, that even when you can merely groan, the Lord hears and knows the cries of your heart. (See Romans 8:26.)
| Do the next thing |
I had to learn at a simple level to literally take one day at a time. What I have on my plate each day as far as my health goes is something I have no control over. So I have to look at the reality of what is and say, “Lord, here is what’s on my plate today. How can this be redeemed for Your glory? How can Your Name be glorified in this today? How can I learn of You in this today?”
Every single day is a choice to take what is before me and surrender it to the Lord to be used for His purposes; to see it as a chance to die to myself daily, to surrender my desires and dreams, to take up my cross and follow Him. And as I follow Him, to do it with great joy (heartily!) — because in His presence is fullness of joy! (See Psalm 16:11.)
| Check your heart |
When we face each day, each circumstance, and each moment head-on with the attitude of “How can I do this heartily as unto the Lord?” then it becomes less about why things aren’t going the way we wanted them to, why dreams aren’t being fulfilled, why “bad things” are happening … and turns our focus onto Him, glorifying Him because He is worthy.
Stop and occasionally ask yourself, “What am I doing right now?” Answer matter-of-factly, “I’m doing the dishes.” Or, “I’m filing papers at work.” Present that to God with a heart of worship, knowing that this can be done as unto the Lord.
“Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatever ye do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31 KJV).
Live with constant pain and physical disability heartily as unto the Lord for the glory of God? Yes.
Cultivate diligence and faithfulness in the midst of a full course load at college heartily for Jesus? Yup!
Spend hours in silence by Grandma’s hospital bed heartily as unto the Lord for the glory of God? Absolutely.
Face the loss of a job, relationship, or another point of stability with steadfastness of soul, heartily as unto the Lord? Yes, even this.
Fill in the blank with whatever your life holds — that, too, is to be done for the glory of God, heartily.
. . .
Life will likely look differently than we expected at some point. There may be curves and bends that contour the road of our tomorrows, but there is an echoing whisper in our soul to look at what is in our given lane for today, and to do it well — to the glory of God. And in this there is peace.